Veteran presenter Harry Gration to leave BBC’s Look North | Television

The veteran BBC regional news presenter Harry Gration has announced he is stepping down after more than 40 years in broadcasting.

The 69-year-old has become a Yorkshire institution after fronting the corporation’s Look North programme for much of the last 38 years. He will present his final show on 21 October, the day before his 70th birthday, and his co-presenter Amy Garcia will continue as lead presenter.

Bradford-born Gration started filing rugby league match reports for the BBC while working as a history teacher in the mid 1970s.

He covered nine Olympic Games for the BBC and won two Royal Television Society (RTS) awards for his sports documentaries White Rose in Africa in 1992 and Dickie Bird: A Rare Species in 1997. He won the RTS best regional presenter award twice.

Gration, who last year became a father for the sixth time, said he was looking forward to new broadcasting adventures and spending more time with his family: “For the past four decades, it’s been a privilege to meet the people of the county I love. Make no mistake, these good folk are the heartbeat of the programme.”

Garcia, who has co-presented with Gration for the last seven years, said he would be missed by the whole team and their loyal viewers: “It has been an absolute honour to share the red sofa with Harry for the past seven years: a Yorkshire legend, a mentor and a dear friend. Look North is a family and Harry has been at the heart of it for so long.”

Helen Thomas, director of BBC England, said it would be an understatement to call Gration a broadcasting legend: “Over the past 40 years he has been a constant and reassuring presence on our screens, and it is testament to his skill that he has been as much at home interviewing the people of Yorkshire as he has prime ministers and royalty.

“Despite his extraordinary tenure, Harry never lost his passion for news, particularly regional news, and that shined through every evening.”

Reflecting on the diversity of his career, Gration said: “I’ve interviewed every prime minister since Margaret Thatcher, covered every major Look North story even at the expense of my holidays, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

“I’ve always lived the story. Horrendous events such as the devastating news of Jo Cox’s death, the disastrous floods of recent times, the Bradford riots, Hillsborough, have always affected me. They were always an assault on my county.

“Standout moments include raising over £800,000 on a tandem, pushing a sofa and being tied to [BBC weatherman] Paul [Hudson]: three challenges my body will never forget.”

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